Sticking to it was the theme of practice for the Maple Leafs Tuesday as they prepared for Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The contest will mark the return to the lineup of Tomas Kaberle.
It’s an interesting return. Kaberle could have taken a pass from the Leafs last six games . Kaberle broke his right hand, missed 13 games and then came back to play again, March 3. A secondary flare-up occurred right over his original break.
With the Leafs about to be eliminated from the playoffs and Kaberle coming off an unspectacular four goal, minus -13 campaign, you can make an argument that erring on the side of safety might have been in order.
It wouldn’t have washed though, with the Leafs or the veteran defenceman.
“I have no trepidation at all,” said coach Ron Wilson. “We’ve waited an extra 10 days. Conditioning-wise, he’s 100 per cent right now.”
“It feels pretty good stickhandling and shooting,” Kaberle said. “I talked to the doctors and it’s good to go.”
“If they thought it was going to be really dangerous, they wouldn’t put me in that situation.”
Kaberle said he came back because he could.
“It’s not easy to be on the sideline. It doesn’t matter how many games are left in the regular season. We are going to try our best to win every single one of them.”
Meanwhile, Ian White’s willingness to do whatever it takes to get back into the lineup earned him the Toronto chapter nomination for the Masterton Memorial Trophy. The award is bestowed by print reporters on the athlete who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Last season Jason Blake won the local nomination and the Masterton Trophy.
White Found himself out of the lineup for the first 11 games of the regular season but when Wilson offered a way in by playing forward, he jumped at it.
“I almost buried him not playing in the first 10 games or so,” Wilson said. “He would do anything to get in the lineup. Even later in the season we played him a couple of times up front. He didn’t complain at all. He showed up and worked hard in practice.”
“I believe everything works out and everything happens for a reason,” White said. “I can’t control my future only what I do on the ice. As long as I keep a positive outlook, things will work out.”